Let the Shepherd Lead the Way

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The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  Psalm 23:1

Living on a farm, we have had sheep for a number of years. Our experience with them during this time has taught us a lot about their characteristics and temperaments. First of all, of all God’s creatures, they are not exactly the “brightest” animals and that is putting it mildly :). They also tend to be very easily frightened and skittish. Any quick movement throws them into a tizzy.

Earlier this year, two of our mama sheep gave birth to triplets. In one day we had six new baby lambs! Baby lambs are the cutest things, so adorably fresh and delightfully small. Though they are able to stand and walk very quickly after birth, they are rather uncoordinated and wobbly at first and can’t run from you so they are easy to catch. When you hold them they actually cuddle up to you perhaps thinking you are their mama. They haven’t learned to be afraid of humans.

The day these lambs were born was a pleasant day, but we knew that a cold front was coming in that night. It was also a day that we needed to move them from one area of the farm to a new area so we moved them to a new spot of green grass that has a nice shed so that they could have shelter when the cold and rain came.

After setting them up in their new spot, I tried to show the sheep the new shelter they could use. They stubbornly would not follow me into the shed! I put feed in there, but they wouldn’t go in. I put blankets down for the baby lambs and carried the lambs inside, but the mama sheep would not go in! I was afraid that the mamas would not feed their babies if I left the babies in the shed, so I brought them back to their mamas.

During all this the mamas were fretful and jumpy, wondering what I was doing with their babies, and seeming to say “why in the world do you want me to go in that creepy shed?”. Little did they know I was only interested in giving them shelter and warmth for the night. I wanted what was good for them, though they saw it as frightening. They were not interested in the goodness and kindness I was offering them. Their refusal to follow my lead meant an uncomfortable and cold night when they could have been warm and protected.

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What a vivid picture this brought to mind of our own reactions to the Lord’s leading in our lives. How often are we frightened about where the Lord wants to lead us? We see it as scary when He only has our best interest in mind.

I had to give up trying to get our sheep into the shed; it was simply a hopeless endeavor!  I just hoped that when the cold came, they would somehow come to their senses and find their way into the shed.  They did not.  They spent the night and the following cold days out in the rain, surely miserable and uncomfortable. If they had only trusted me they could have been warm and content.

The Lord’s way is not only a good way, it is the best way.  We can trust that our great shepherd will always know what we need and when to provide it.  He also knows when it is best to not give us what we think we want.

Psalm 23:3 He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
 
The paths that the Shepherd takes us on are the righteous or ‘right’ paths. They will lead us to places of rest and provision. We can be comforted in the fact that God directs us and even discipline from the Lord can be seen as comforting for it is a sign of His great love for us.
Mama L – Chat L
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